Chicago health systems cancel elective procedures amid protests, transit disruptions

Several health systems in Chicago canceled elective procedures June 1 after a weekend packed with public transit disruptions and protests following the death of George Floyd, according to The Chicago Tribune

For example, University of Chicago Medicine closed its outpatient centers June 1 in six Chicago neighborhoods, including Orland Park, South Loop, River North, River East, South Shore and Hyde Park. 

It also closed its COVID-19 testing sites and canceled elective surgeries at some facilities, according to the report. 

University of Chicago Medicine said its emergency departments remain open and it still is admitting patients to its hospital.

The system said it closed outpatient clinics and rescheduled patient visits "out of an abundance of caution," according to an email obtained by the Tribune.

"We weren't sure if our staff would be able to get to those sites due to the transportation shutdowns across the region and we wanted to give patients who were traveling in for appointments as much lead time as we could," spokesperson Ashley Heher told the Tribune.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital also closed an immediate care center from June 1-2 due to the protests, according to the Tribune. 

A rehabilitation hospital in Chicago, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, also planned to ramp back up inpatient services June 1 after mainly treating patients using telehealth due to the pandemic. However, the system postponed opening its clinics due to the protests. 

In addition to clinic closures June 1, Northwestern Memorial diverted ambulances for about two hours over the weekend amid the protests over Mr. Floyd, who was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police last week. 

The closures and elective procedure cancellations come as many hospitals are trying to ramp back up outpatient services and elective surgeries after they were suspended to prepare for a potential COVID-19 patient surge. 

More articles on patient flow:
New York hospital speeds up plan to close ED
How a California hospital is calming patient coronavirus fears, encouraging ED visits
Overprepared for COVID-19 surges but not sorry, hospital leaders say

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